Main Article Content
Unemployment, inequality and poverty are the scaffoldings which conspicuously mirror the impediments to development in any human society. Of the three, joblessness or unemployment serves as the hinge on which other challenges rest. This becomes more problematic when an energetic youth population remains idle when they are not supposed to be. Thus the paper assesses the factors contributing to rural youth unemployment in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. It specifically analyses socio-economic and institutional factors influencing rural youth unemployment in the study area. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used to sample 105 youths aged between 18-35 years in two communities within the Okavango Delta area. Open and close-ended questionnaires were administered to elicit information from the respondents. We summarised the data obtained using descriptive statistics. Pearson product-moment correlation was used to test the directional relationship between youth unemployment and selected explanatory variables embedded in socio-economic and institutional factors. A non-parametric test was also conducted using Chi square analysis to determine the associations between the dependent and nominal variables investigated. The findings show that most of the youths (57.1%) were unemployed (57.1%) of which 65.6% of the jobless individuals constituted the female respondents. Correlation analysis indicates that level of education (r = -0.208; p ≤ 0.034); training (t = 3.831; p ≤ 0.000); access to information (r = 0.315; p ≤ 0.001); acquisition of entrepreneurial skills (r = -0.388; p ≤ 0.000) and youth perceptions towards government programmes (r = 0.289; p ≤ 0.003) are explanatory variables influencing rural youth unemployment in the study area. Chi square analysis also shows that gender (X2 = 4.815; p ≤ 0.05) had a significant association with youth unemployment. Thus education or training, and access to relevant information are crucial policy issues for alleviating rural youth unemployment in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.